UK

Critics’ delight as Cressida Dick quits top role at Met

Dame Cressida Dick’s critics last night praised her sudden resignation as Scotland Yard chief, calling the departure ‘long overdue’.

The beleaguered Metropolitan Commissioner’s tenure has been blighted by one scandal after another, including Sarah Everard’s shocking murder, the Daniel Morgan inquiry, and allegations of institutional racism, sexism, homophobia and corruption within the force.

Tonight her opponents celebrated her resignation, saying that it marked the beginning of the ‘restoration of the quality and the reputation of the Metropolitan Police’.

Labour MP Dawn Butler tweeted: ‘I said Cressida Dick had to go. I’m now pleased @MayorofLondon has accepted her resignation. The replacement must be committed to serious reform and building trust back into the Met.’

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Her parliamentary colleague Nadia Whittome added: ‘Cressida Dick, who was the officer in charge of the operation that fatally shot Jean Charles de Menezes, never should have been promoted to lead the Met. She should have resigned after the BLM rallies, Sarah Everard vigil & obstructing the inquiry into police corruption.’

Alastair Morgan, who has spent decades campaigning for justice for his brother Daniel, who was killed with an axe in a pub car park in Sydenham, south-east London in the 1980s, said Dame Cressida has ‘disappointed’ his family on every level.

He said: ‘The first time I dealt with Cressida Dick was in 2012 and since then all she has done in relation to my family is just delay, obstruct and disappoint on a huge level.

‘Although I think it is a shame that we are seeing another commissioner disappear under a cloud of smoke, it is necessary. My only anxiety now is who is going to replace her and face the massive job in front of them of rebuilding confidence in the Met.’

Entertainer Paul Gambaccini, who was investigated by Met Police detectives after he was wrongly accused of sex abuse, said tonight: ‘It is time to roll away the stone and shed light on what is inside the cave.

‘All of those secrets that Cressida Dick kept secret for years, the truth of the cover up of the Stephen Lawrence murder, the truth of the cover up of the Daniel Morgan axe in the head murder, the full truth of Operation Midland and so forth. Things we have talked about before.

‘Recently the public have had even more reason to be irate against this unfortunate woman. And I think we must say that today is not the last step but the beginning, perhaps of the restoration of the quality and the reputation of the Metropolitan Police, oh could it be so.’

Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, who was wrongly accused of child sex abuse by serial liar Carl ‘Nick’ Beech, said he was ‘delighted’ by the news. He added: ‘It is now time to clean the Augean stables so that a full inquiry can be conducted on all her personal mistakes.’

Campaign group Reclaim The Streets, which is bringing a legal challenge against the force over its heavy-handed handling of a vigil for Miss Everard in Clapham Common last year, simply tweeted: ‘Good Riddance.’ 

Meanwhile, Dame Cressida’s colleagues and supporters condemned the way she was forced to resign, insisting she was ‘much loved’ across the force.

Dame Cressida Dick’s critics praised her sudden resignation as Scotland Yard chief, calling the departure ‘long overdue’

Beleaguered Dame Cressida Dick has finally resigned as Metropolitan Police Commissioner after presiding over a litany of controversies as Scotland Yard chief

Beleaguered Dame Cressida Dick has finally resigned as Metropolitan Police Commissioner after presiding over a litany of controversies as Scotland Yard chief

String of disasters at the Met under Dame Cressida’s watch  

April 2017: Appointed as first female Metropolitan Police commissioner with a brief to modernise the force and keep it out of the headlines.

April 2019: Extinction Rebellion protesters bring London to a standstill over several days with the Met powerless to prevent the chaos. Dame Cressida says the numbers involved were far greater than expected and used new tactics but she admits police should have responded quicker.

September 2019: Her role in setting up of shambolic probe into alleged VIP child sex abuse and murder based on testimony from the fantasist Carl Beech (right) is revealed but she declines to answer questions.

2020: Official report into Operation Midland said Met was more interested in covering up mistakes than learning from them.

February 2021: Lady Brittan condemns the culture of ‘cover up and flick away’ in the Met and the lack of a moral compass among senior officers.

  • The same month a freedom of information request reveals an extraordinary spin campaign to ensure Dame Cressida was not ‘pulled into’ the scandal over the Carl Beech debacle.

March: Criticised for Met handling of a vigil for Sarah Everard, where officers arrested four attendees. Details would later emerge about how her killer, Wayne Couzens (right), used his warrant card to trick her into getting into his car. 

  • In the first six months of the year, London was on course for its worst year for teenage deaths – 30 – with knives being responsible for 19 out of the 22 killed so far. The youngest was 14-year-old Fares Matou, cut down with a Samurai sword. Dame Cressida had told LBC radio in May her top priority was tackling violent crime.

June: A £20million report into the Daniel Morgan murder brands the Met ‘institutionally corrupt’ and accuses her of trying to block the inquiry. Dame Cressida rejects its findings. Mr Morgan is pictured below. 

July: Police watchdog reveals three Met officers being probed over alleged racism and dishonesty.

  • The same month the Yard boss is at the centre of another storm after it emerged she was secretly referred to the police watchdog over comments she made about the stop and search of Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams. Dame Cressida is accused of pre-empting the outcome of an independent investigation.
  • Also in July she finds herself under fire over her woeful security operation at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley where fans without tickets stormed the stadium and others used stolen steward vests and ID lanyards to gain access.

August Dame Cressida facing a potential misconduct probe over her open support for Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Horne who could stand trial over alleged data breaches.

December: Two police officers who took pictures of the bodies of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman (right) were jailed for two years and nine months each.

Pc Deniz Jaffer and Pc Jamie Lewis were assigned to guard the scene overnight after Ms Henry, 46, and Ms Smallman, 27, were found dead in bushes in Fryent Country Park, Wembley, north-west London. Instead, they breached the cordon to take photographs of the bodies, which were then shared with colleagues and members of the public on WhatsApp. 

 

December: Dame Cressida apologises to the family of a victim of serial killer Stephen Port (right). Officers missed several chances to catch him after he murdered Anthony Walgate in 2014. 

Dame Cressida – who was not commissioner at the time of the murder – told Mr Walgate’s mother: ‘I am sorry, both personally and on behalf of The Met — had police listened to what you said, things would have turned out a lot differently’.’

January 2022: She faces a barrage of fresh criticism for seeking to ‘muzzle’ Sue Gray’s Partygate report by asking her to make only ‘minimal’ references to parties the Met were investigating. 

February 2022: Details of messages exchanged by officers at Charing Cross Police Station, which included multiple references to rape, violence against women, racist and homophobic abuse, are unveiled in a watchdog report.

Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the resignation of our commissioner. She was much loved across the rank and file of the Metropolitan Police Service.

We feel the way she has been treated is wholly unfair and we did believe that she was the person who could take us through this and bring us out the other side.’

Boris Johnson also praised the outgoing commissioner for serving with ‘great dedication and distinction over many decades’. ‘I thank her for her role protecting the public and making our streets safer,’ the Prime Minister tweeted.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said Dame Cressida ‘held the role during challenging times’ and ‘exemplified the increasingly diverse nature of our police’ as the first woman to hold the post.

‘She would be the first to say that she has held the role during challenging times; yet for nearly five years she has undertaken her duties with a steadfast dedication to protecting our capital city and its people, including during the unprecedented period of the pandemic,’ Miss Patel said.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey also thanked her, but added ‘a change of leadership in the Met is long overdue’.

He also demanded that Mr Johnson ‘publicly recuse’ himself over the appointment of her successor due to the ongoing Met investigation into parties held in No 10 during Covid restrictions.

Harriet Wistrich, director of the Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) charity, said: ‘There were far too many stories of officers accused of violence and abuse still in their jobs and of whistle-blowers victimised instead of listened too.

‘Cressida Dick’s response to these series of stories has been wholly inadequate and her description of Wayne Couzens as a ‘wrong un’ meaningless next to the mounting evidence of multiple allegations of abuse and policing failures to tackle violence against women and racism.’

Miss Wistrich added that Dame Cressida ‘rose to the top of the Met, only to preside over an institution where misogynists, racists and homophobes can hold on to their jobs when they are meant to be tackling crime’.

‘The problem with Cressida as the first female to rise to the top of the most difficult job in policing, is that in order to do so she had to put loyalty to her officers above all else. Any future leader of the Met must be able to listen to victims and be prepared to tackle the culture of misogyny and racism that pervades the underbelly of Met policing.

‘In the meantime, Centre for Women’s Justice will continue in our judicial review bid to ensure that the inquiry announced by the Home Secretary into failings associated with the murder of Sarah Everard, is put onto a statutory footing and broadened in scope to ensure it can identify systemic failings and recommend meaningful institutional change.’ 

In a statement, Dame Cressida said: ‘It is with huge sadness that following contact with the Mayor of London today, it is clear that the Mayor no longer has sufficient confidence in my leadership to continue. He has left me no choice but to step aside as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.’

In her time leading Britain’s biggest police force, Dame Cressida faced a litany of failures — most recently the watchdog report into Charing Cross police station. The force also faced outrage over its apparent hesitation to launch an investigation into alleged lockdown-busting parties held in Downing Street and the Cabinet Office during the pandemic while restrictions were in place.

And there was widespread public fury over the rape and murder of Sarah Everard by depraved Met cop Wayne Couzens, as well as the force’s heavy-handed actions following her death in tackling a Clapham Common vigil held in her memory last year, and issuing clumsy advice telling women in trouble to flag down a passing bus that later had to be retracted.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has blamed ‘failures of leadership’ for the rotten culture at the Met, including by the commissioner herself. 

Dame Cressida began her career in London as a constable before holding a variety of posts on her way to becoming Scotland Yard’s first female chief. However, her leadership of the force came under mounting public scrutiny following a number of controversies.

Perhaps the most damaging blot on her card is that of the shambolic Operation Midland — the Met’s £1milliion investigation into spurious VIP child sex abuse allegations.

Innocent men, including the late Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, were pursued by the force in a probe sanctioned in 2014 while Dame Cressida was an assistant commissioner. The Met’s star witness Carl ‘Nick’ Beech was later revealed to be a serial liar and was jailed after police investigating his claims discovered his deceit.  

On Dame Cressida’s watch, ticketless football hooligans broke past Wembley’s security barriers during the Euros last year and stormed the grounds ahead of England’s clash with Italy. The Met was accused of not having enough officers on duty to create a ‘ring of steel’ around he venue to hold back the frenzied England supporters.

Dame Cressida has also faced questions about why Miss Everard’s evil attacker Couzens was not arrested before he kidnapped, raped and murdered the 33-year-old marketing manager for flashing offences previously reported to the police. 

And last summer, the force was branded ‘institutionally corrupt’ by an independent panel investigating police inquiries into the unsolved murder in the 1980s of private detective Daniel Morgan. 

In a statement, Mr Khan said: ‘Last week, I made clear to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner the scale of the change I believe is urgently required to rebuild the trust and confidence of Londoners in the Met and to root out the racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, discrimination and misogyny that still exists. I am not satisfied with the Commissioner’s response. 

‘On being informed of this, Dame Cressida Dick has said she will be standing aside. It’s clear that the only way to start to deliver the scale of the change required is to have new leadership right at the top of the Metropolitan Police.

‘I would like to thank Dame Cressida Dick for her 40 years of dedicated public service, with the vast majority spent at the Met where she was the first woman to become Commissioner. In particular, I commend her for the recent work in helping us to bring down violent crime in London — although of course there is more to do. 

‘I want to put on the record again that there are thousands of incredibly brave and decent police officers at the Met who go above and beyond every day to help keep us safe, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

‘I will now work closely with the Home Secretary on the appointment of a new Commissioner so that we can move quickly to restore trust in the capital’s police service while keeping London safe.’

Miss Patel said: ‘I’d like to thank Dame Cressida for the nearly four decades of her life that she has devoted to serving the public, latterly as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

‘She would be the first to say that she has held the role during challenging times; yet for nearly five years she has undertaken her duties with a steadfast dedication to protecting our capital city and its people, including during the unprecedented period of the pandemic. 

File photo dated 02/11/20 of former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

File photo dated 02/11/20 of former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

The news comes a week after Mr Khan said he was ‘not satisfied’ with the Met's Commissioner’s response to calls for change following a series of scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens

The news comes a week after Mr Khan said he was ‘not satisfied’ with the Met's Commissioner’s response to calls for change following a series of scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens

The news comes a week after Mr Khan said he was ‘not satisfied’ with the Met’s Commissioner’s response to calls for change following a series of scandals including the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens

The Metropolitan Police commissioner faced calls for her resignation earlier this year after women were arrested at a vigil that was held in memory of Miss Everard

Dame Cressida was also slammed by the families of victims of VIP paedophile ring fantasist Carl Beech, whose spurious allegations were investigated by police - ruining the lives and reputations of those he accused

Dame Cressida was also slammed by the families of victims of VIP paedophile ring fantasist Carl Beech, whose spurious allegations were investigated by police – ruining the lives and reputations of those he accused  

‘Leading the Met has also involved driving our national counter terrorism capability at a time of multiple threats while, as the first woman to hold the post, she has exemplified the increasingly diverse nature of our police and demonstrated that all can aspire to hold leadership roles in policing in this country today.’

Reacting to her resignation, Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said Dame Cressida has been treated in a ‘wholly unfair’ way.

‘We are deeply saddened by the resignation of our commissioner,’ he said.

‘She was much loved across the rank and file of the Metropolitan Police Service. We feel the way she has been treated is wholly unfair and we did believe that she was the person who could take us through this and bring us out the other side.’

Ex-Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Roberts told LBC: ‘I’m shocked and saddened. I think it’s an absolute disgrace what seems to have happened.

‘I’m afraid this is a case of politicians wanting a quick fix for something that needs fixing but can’t be fixed quickly.

‘Cressida [Dick] seems to be taking the blame for a situation which politicians needed to have solved and should have solved by getting rid of the Prime Minister.’   


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